Nov 09 Out with Books – In with Kindles?

Photo attributed to adored
Photo attributed to adored

Today I held a new kindle and wondered if this device will replace the thousands of books in our Libraries? This is happening in some schools already. In Cushing Academy in Massachusetts, they are removing 20,000 books; half their library collection, and replacing them with an entirely digital infrastructure. They have spent nearly half a million dollars on a new digital center, including $10,000 on kindles and Sony readers that will be filled with study material. The center will also feature a coffee shop with a $12,000 cappuccino machine.

 But should we follow this trend? A recent study by academic, Julie Corio, indicates that problems of comprehension tend to be amplified on the internet. In other words, the very same comprehension skills used for reading printed texts are necessary for reading digital texts, but not sufficient. This means that an additional set of strategies is needed to manipulate, navigate and evaluate text on the internet. Read more at and click the papers on the left.

 Also, our Library statistics on book borrowing show non-fiction lending figures are trending upwards, despite the increase in computer access this year facilitated by netbooks for Year 10 students. Thus, books are being increasingly utilized by students and teachers and seen as valuable for research.

 But Australians love gadgets, so will they love the kindle? The international Australian kindle that I encountered cost $257 and weighed under 10 oz. Buying books for the kindle costs $9.99 for newer books and classics $2.99. There is no internet fee – once you own the device, all you pay for is the books purchased. Kindle is claimed to have a battery that will last long enough for the average person to read War and Peace and it recharges like a phone. But, the kindle has no backlight like a netbook, so you need a light on to read in bed. Unlike books, you cannot share kindle books with a friend, unless you also lend them the kindle. The owner felt that when travelling, kindles would be great because they are light, and contain so many books.

 Then, there is a need to consider competing e-readers, not to mention a whole range of threats that the kindle could face from cellphones, handhelds and other multifunction devices. Brisbane City Council Library Service provides free downloading of ebooks to patrons, so instead of buying more devices, patrons can access ebooks on the devices they already own

 In addition, there is the whole question of the market for these devices. Some say the real value lies not in the average reader, but in those who pay premium prices to access publications, such as universities, business, and those seeking specialized texts. So the basis for kindles or similar devices replacing books in libraries is not substantive at present; but the cappuccino machine – now that’s an idea….

Read more at and and and   and compare e-readers at

7 thoughts on “Nov 09 Out with Books – In with Kindles?

  1. “problems of comprehension tend to be amplified on the internet”

    I suspect that this is not relevant to the Kindle type devices as they are using the internet to access the ebooks vs internet reading which is reading content on the internet, more accurately www.

  2. Am trying to get my head around the complexities of having a bunch of Kindles (maybe 4-8) in the library. Can you stop students from downloading extra books from Amazon (only takes 50 seconds) and maxing out one’s credit card? Also how do you keep tabs on what books are on what Kindles?

  3. Jim,
    You will no doubt need to implement procedures to manage use of the kindle.

    Perhaps a low level debit card that only staff can top up might be better than a credit card.

    I had a look at the manual, and could not locate a way to password protect the kindle, but perhaps others might know how to do this.

    I would be interested in hearing how you sort out these issues.


  4. I got my kindle this week. It is possible to turn off the wireless… Hmm, but it’s just as easy to turn it back on. so that mightn’t work. I guess it might be possible to unlink the credit card details. Haven’t explored that option.


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